This summer, WMSRDC’s GIS program partnered with Access Heath, Pathfinders of Muskegon, CHIR/Livability Lab, and Kindred Marketing, with additional support from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, to hold community sessions with the citizens of Muskegon Heights to talk about food access within their city. In June, five sessions were hosted and moderated by Pathfinders where over 100 residents of Muskegon Heights were invited to discuss their needs and wants for food availability. Residents attending these sessions provided detailed information about what food assets currently exist and are absent within the city boundaries. Most residents expressed that their top needs included a grocery store, community gardens, a functioning farmers market, and more support for elderly and low-income residents in accessing local foods. While there are several convenience stores, dollar stores, and eating establishments that exist within the city, the need for a local store with fresh produce, meats, and dairy is a missing necessity.
WMSRDC created a map showing all the food assets within the city of Muskegon Heights based on the results from the moderated sessions. Overlayed with city roads and transit routes, an overall picture of the city’s food resources showed the lack of accessible fresh foods and vegetables within the city boundaries. Healthy meals were provided at each session by local Muskegon Heights’ restaurants or catering services. With the sessions completed, a final report is being produced by Kindred Marketing and Access Health to be released this fall. To learn more about this event and the results and to see a map of the Muskegon Heights food assets, visit www.livabilitylab.com/heightsfood. The map dispalyed on this pages shows the food assets within the city of Muskegon Heights.